Today, I stopped by the Boise Art Museum, which is hosting my Folding Paper origami exhibition. At the front desk, I met a friendly volunteer called John who was reading something very secretively under his desk. It turned out to be the Folding Paper catalog. He was a docent and wanted to learn all about the exhibition before he had to take visitors through it. I was tickled of course to find someone reading one of my publications so sneakily! I wandered around the other galleries exploring their other temporary exhibitions, which were beautifully laid out and showed a definite emphasis on material and craftsmanship. I really understood why they had been so keen to take this exhibition. I felt very impressed and honored to have an exhibition in this thoughtfully curated museum.
As a token of my appreciation, I left a couple of books at the front desk as a donation to the education department – one was a small Japanese book of simple origami and the other was a biography of Sadako Sasaki by Eleanor Coerr, that I hope they will be able to use in their educational programming. Sadako was a young Hiroshima girl who was two years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on her city. When she was twelve, Sadako was hospitalized with leukemia caused by the bomb’s radiation. Her friend told her that anyone who folds one thousand cranes would be granted a wish, so Sadako began folding cranes with the hope of recovering from her disease. Sadly, although she was able to fold more than one thousand cranes, she died in October 1955. A monument to her was erected in the Hiroshima Peace Park and is permanently embellished with garlands of colorful cranes folded in her memory by school children from around the world. Because of Sadako’s tragic story, the origami crane is today a symbol of world peace.
One of Sadako’s cranes is included in the Folding Paper exhibition. Though it is the smallest piece in the entire exhibition tours, this tiny folded paper prayer carries in it a powerful message of peace and hope, one that will not be lost on the warm, thoughtful people of the city of Boise, Idaho.